After winding through the arid green hills, Highway 78 between Billings and Bozeman eventually gives way to a rugged gravel road that comes to an end at a lonesome-looking gate typical of most ranches in this land.
It’s hard to imagine that inside is an experiment in music, sculpture, and 21st-century art presentation.
Tippet Rise Art Center is a scenic working ranch in the small Montana town of Fishtail, and it is a ranch with a difference.
This is a fact not immediately obvious from the surrounding hills and pastures but the ranch also doubles as Tippet Rise Art Center, where various cultural and artistic pursuits are held.
On these 12,500 picturesque acres not only are classical music concerts the norm but also recitals, exhibits, concerts, and sculptures, to name but a few.
The couple behind Tippet Rise Art Center, Peter, and Cathy Halstead, like to present Tippet Rise as a metaphor for ‘an intersection where art, music, land, sky, and poetry all come together under a common cause. The center celebrates the fact that art and nature are inextricably linked, and are also particularly pertinent to the human spirit.
Tippet Rise Art Center has various musical performance spaces by way of both indoor and outdoor small buildings and facilities to accommodate different moods, styles, and audiences.
Classical music concerts are usually held in the Oliver Barn on summer weekends, or under the Domo.
All programs are designed to create memorable experiences for the attendees, and the center prides itself tremendously on being able to present musicians and performers who embody a sense of vision, freedom even, and discover and reveal new interpretations with innovation.
To add yet another twist to the tale of the ranch, you are also able to take a biking, hiking, or van tour with staff from the center, and a range of activities are available.
Accommodation in nearby areas can be organized if you haven’t set any up and want to spend a few days in the area.
The team has even expanded the resources to make shared performances available to anyone, no matter where they live, via live links–but the owner’s Peter and Cathy believe the live experience cannot be compared to screen performance.
At Tippet Rise Art Center the surrounding rolling hills and expansive skies are perfect for doing justice to the acoustics of the live music.
The 2022 season takes off on August 26 through September 25, and this season sees four world premieres with three of them commissioned by Tippet Rise.
Tippet Rise Art Center History and Operation
Peter and Cathy Halstead are the co-founders of the facility. The two have known each other since their teens and both come from families that have been active in bringing art into the community.
Peter is both a pianist and a photographer who has exhibited around the world. Cathy paints abstract art, and together they are trustees of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation, which allots close to one hundred grants per year in the U.S. and in the U.K.
Peter and Cathy love the big surroundings to support their big ideas, although the couple has deliberately aimed for limited audience sizes.
Even with Montana’s reputation for fast-gathering storms, most concerts take place inside an acoustically state-of-the-art barn with just 150 seats.
The intimacy is integral to the whole Tippet Rise vibe, and the audience is invited to join a prior gourmet buffet dinner featuring local produce. They often spend time lingering around afterward to soak up the atmosphere and discuss the music with the artists over wine under an open, star-filled Montana sky.
Tippet Rise Art Center Details
- Address: 96 South Grove Creek Road, Fishtail, MT 59028
- Capacity: 150+
- Email Address: email@example.com
- Website URL:https://tippetrise.org
- Open Hours: 10am onwards according to performances
Shows & Events
The five-week concert season at Tippet Rise Art Center kicks off at the end of 2022, August 26th. More than 50 works of various natures are featured in the programs along with performances from internationally-acclaimed artists and musicians.
Four new sculptures will be exhibited with the opening of the new season and these include the works of Ensamble Studio, Mark di Suvero, Ai Weiwei, and Patrick Dougherty.
These have been added to some of the spaces already containing the existing works within the grounds of the art center.
Hiking around the sculptures as well as biking will be available again from June 10, largely featuring Friday and weekend tours that are self-guided.
The trails around the art center stretch for more than 13 miles and are free for all visitors to use although prior registration is required. This can be done easily through the website from April.
You can bring your hiking shoes or your own mountain bike if you want to try out the art center’s ‘sculpture trail’. You can experience the 13 miles of trail that connects all the sculptures within the grounds together.
The distance between each different sculpture varies between 3 and 5 miles, and some of the terrains can be quite steep. It’s a good idea to put aside at least half a day, if not a full one for this physical and cultural endeavor.
Classical 3-piece Combo (Friday, August 26)
Kicking off the first of the center’s classical concerts comes this offering from a cello, violin, and piano ensemble.
The key players are violinist Jennifer Frautschi, cellist Arlen Hlusko, and Zoltan Fejervari on piano. The event is held in Will’s Shed and is scheduled for a 5.30 pm start.
(Saturday 27 and Sunday 28)
Some of the players from the previous day’s proceedings also feature in these classical concerts. The Saturday concert gives the Tiara Acoustic Shell the opportunity to host the vibrations of the string ensemble, scheduled for an 11.00am start.
The Sunday concert is Zoltan’s solo piano presentation in Will’s Shed, again scheduled for an 11.00am start.
A similar run of events is scheduled for every following weekend until September 25, and the full event calendar and more in-depth artist information are available on the website.
You can also check out the previous live performances on the official Tippet Rise Art Center YouTube channel.